That’s the question a Lifeway research team recently asked Americans as part of their ongoing polling of American’s and their position on homosexuality. The answers from 2011 and then again in 2012 are reflected in the graphic embedded in this article.
An article at The Blaze.com breaks down the responses:
“LifeWay Research conducted a survey back in November — the results of which were released on Thursday. The organization asked respondents, ‘Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?’ Forty-five percent of the American public said that it is not, with 37 percent answering affirmatively, and an additional 17 percent saying that it did not know which side to select.”
The most interesting part of the statistics is not in the fewer people that believe homosexuality is a sin, it is the fewer people that (from 45% to 43%) that believe it is not a sin, and the much larger increase (from 13% to 17%) that say “I don’t know” if it is a sin. There seems to be great turmoil brewing in Americans over whether homosexual behavior and actions can be labeled, biblically, as sin.
People often quip “Jesus didn’t say anything about it” as a defense for homosexuality. True, He didn’t explicitly say anything. But Jesus also didn’t say pornography was wrong either and yet I’m not subscribing to Playboy anytime soon. Jesus didn’t say anything about drugs, movies, guns, MMA, 50 Shades of Grey, and many other things in our culture. He did however remind people that God created them “male and female” (Mark 10:6-9). Also, Jesus never condones homosexuality. But an argument from silence is the weakest of all arguments. It assumes a conclusive position is unknowable; this is patently false.
As a pastor of 10 years and student of Scripture for nearly 20 years what I do know is that Jesus and the Bible clearly communicate a message about sexuality, marriage, and sin. And by studying what the Bible does say it is easy to conclude the message that God intended for us regarding issues such as homosexuality. Consider:
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:27)
The entire passage, Romans 1:21-32 includes a list of things, of which homosexuality is clearly included, all described as “uncleanness,” and “error.” A true scholar would be hard pressed to find an alternate conclusion for the passage other than to admit that homosexuality is indeed a sin. (For a deeper, scholarly discussion of homosexuality in the Bible I encourage you to examine this article by Answers in Genesis.)
Additionally, throughout the Bible marriage is mentioned, but only marriage between a man and woman. Homosexuality is never held up in a positive light, or praised as marriage is. No homosexual person is ever used by God or praised for their faith; as is Abraham, Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and on the list goes. Anytime homosexual activity is mentioned it is being judged as sin, i.e. Sodom and Gomorrah.
I would also point out that the Bible says homosexuality would be a sign of the “the last days” before Jesus returns. I tis listed, “without natural affection,” along with a host of other sins as a sign of the times, not held up as something to be praised. Ironically, the passage also speaks of persecution for the “godly in Christ Jesus.” Clearly a separation between homosexuality and the “godly in Christ Jesus” is made,” pointing out the fact that the two cannot co-exist.
So why are some, like an “evangelical” leader in Britain trying to tell us otherwise? Steve Chalke, a prominent faith leader in the UK says that while some still use the Old and New Testaments to condemn homosexual behavior, he believes this is causing harm and the position should be abandoned:
“Church leaders sometimes use this data to argue that homosexuality is unhealthy when tragically it is anti-gay stigma, propped up by church attitudes, which, all too often, drives these statistics…Here is my question: shouldn’t we take the same principle that we readily apply to the role of women, slavery, and numerous other issues, and apply it our understanding of permanent, faithful, homosexual relationships?
But I believe evangelical author Louis Markos has a better handle on what is happening in our culture and why so many Christians seem willing to condone what the Bible calls sin:
“Today, many families and churches have allowed their commendable love for the sinner to morph into an acceptance and even a love for the sin itself. Those in the former group lack a full understanding of Christ’s mercy and forgiveness, seen so powerfully in his insistence on eating in the homes of prostitutes and tax collectors. Those in the latter group lack a full understanding of the true nature of sin. When we engage in sin we are not just breaking a societal code or offending refined sensibilities; we are living and acting in rebellion against our Creator and his desire for our lives. And when we do that, we inevitably hurt ourselves and pervert our nature.”
There seems to be considerable confusion between loving the sinner and hating the sin. Somehow people are failing to understand the ability to separate sin from the sinner and falsely equate hating sin with hating the sinner. But just as Jesus never once tolerated anyone’s sin, even to their exclusion, we as Christians can never take a position contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible in order to love people.
I see no way to reconcile active homosexuality or support for same-sex “marriage,” which equates to endorsing sin, with living consistently according to the Bible. It is entirely possible to love a person while disagreeing with their lifestyle choice, or any other sin in their life. But affirming their sin is neither loving nor compassionate. It will, in the end, push a person farther from the God and the saving grace we all so desperately need.
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About Nathan Cherry
Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.